Maine entered the Union in March 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise. No state outside the original 13 colonies has started with more electoral votes – it had nine in the 1820 election. By the mid-19th century, Maine began losing electoral votes, and has had four since the 1964 election. Primarily Republican from the Civil War (going “blue” only in 1912, 1964, and 1968) through the 1980s, Maine has voted Democratic in the last seven elections, although the 2016 race was much closer than in recent elections. Hillary Clinton won the state by just 2.9% over Donald Trump.
Maine was a tale of two states in that 2016 election, as Clinton won the 1st congressional district by nearly 15%, while Trump took the more rural 2nd by over 10%. This is significant in that Maine is one of only two states -along with Nebraska- that do not use a winner-take-all electoral vote allocation. Here, the winner of the popular vote gets two electoral votes, while one is assigned to the winner of each of Maine’s two congressional districts. As a result, Trump won one of the state's four electoral votes. This is the first split since Maine established this approach beginning with the 1972 election. 2016 also saw one of the state's two at-large electors cast a vote for Bernie Sanders. That vote was disallowed and the elector subsequently voted for Clinton.